Posted on October 24, 2019
The industry is interested in materials that have a high density. Lithium-carbon dioxide batteries can store up to seven times more energy than lithium-ion ones. The search for materials that are capable of storing as much information as possible, has developed exponentially in recent years. The fields for applications are very wide, for example, electric cars.
At the University of Illinois at Chicago, they have managed to develop the first lithium-carbon dioxide battery. The prototype has successfully passed 500 consecutive charge and recharge cycles. This achievement paves the way for the use of lithium-carbon dioxide in advanced energy storage systems. The capacity of the material was known, but until now it had not been achieved to be operative.
The accumulation of carbon in the batteries was the main obstacle that the researchers had to overcome. When a lithium-carbon dioxide battery discharges, it produces lithium carbonate and carbon. The lithium carbonate recycles during the charge phase but not the carbon. The progressive accumulation in each discharge caused the device to fail. The team of researches has tested new materials to solve this problem. They want to recycle both carbon and lithium carbonate.
After testing with different components, they have avoided the separation between lithium carbonate and carbon. By adding molybdenum disulfide the elements no longer separate. They produce a single multi-component composite of products rather than separate products, making recycling more efficient. The battery can then increase its life span. This greater efficiency over time opens the door to large-scale storage. The long cycle of life demonstrates that chemical transformation can be used in energy storage systems. It has become another proof of the positive impact produced by the combination of different sciences. Different points of view come to new solutions that solve problems. There have also been several organizations that have participated in the research such as the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and a grant from the National Science Foundation.